David Reeder

Special to the Grove Sun

MIAMI-Winning continues to be a matter of course for the Lady Comets as the Kansas girls’ softball team traveled to Miami Monday evening , taking out Miami in the early innings and coming from behind to defeat Commerce in the latter frames.

In the opening game, Kansas starting pitcher Kristen Walker got the Lady Wardogs to go down in order to wrap up a scoreless first inning.  But the 2nd stanza proved to be the game’s definitive segment.  After Walker and Kayla Duncan, reached on an error and a hit by pitch, the Lady Comets followed with five consecutive RBI hits. 

Courtney Barnard started things off with a run scoring single, while Courtney Cowan, Danielle Budds, Summer Higgins and Haley Blackwood picked up RBIs on base hits of their own.  Kansas’s 6th run scored on cleanup batter Amy Rackliff’s one out base knock. 

Miami was able to manufacture their first run with a walk, a stolen base, a single and a wild pitch in the bottom of the 2nd.  The Lady Comets went down in order in their half of the 3rd, while in the home half, the Lady Dogs took advantage of walk and a hit batsman, to push across another tally.  And with a pair of runners aboard, the Miami three-hole hitter lashed a two run double to bring her team within two at 6-4.

With the game’s predetermined time limit drawing nigh, the Lady Comet offense threatened to add to their lead on Rackliff’s second hit of the game.  But the rally fell short, to keep the game at 6-4, with the visitors on top.  Underclassman, Paige Fielden took over the pitching duties from Walker and held the Lady ’Dogs scoreless, to preserve the 6-4 Comet victory.

After relieving in the first game, Fielden got the starting nod in the next against Commerce. The Lady Comets wasted a leadoff walk and stolen base by Higgins in the top of the first. 

Commerce then took advantage of three Kansas errors by turning a walk and a single into two runs.  For the next three innings neither team could mount much offense, prompting the Comet coaches to juggle their lineup.  And as a result, the Lady Comet bench got them on the scoreboard. 

Back to back two out errors by the Lady Tiger defense put a pair of Kansas runners, wherein Holly Wofford chased them both home with a double into the gap, knotting the affair at two.  But a hit batsman, a sacrifice and an error allowed Commerce to retake the lead, 3-2, in the bottom of the 5th.

Taking a cue from their reserves, it was the Lady Comet starters that stoked the fires of their four-run fifth. Higgins led off the sixth with a triple and scored the tying run on a wild pitch.  Blackwood picked up a walk and moved to second on an error in centerfield.  Blackwood then swiped third and scored the lead run on a heads up play that saw the Tiger catcher react too leisurely on a ball four. 

Duncan’s two-run double added the fifth and sixth Kansas runs.  Commerce did not go down easily in their final at bat.  After walking the leadoff batter and hitting the next Fielden struck out the third. Both runners came in to score on an outfield error. The Comet pitcher got the second out on a weak infield grounder, only to walk the potential tying run.  But Fielden got the Commerce cleanup hitter to pop out to center, preserving her complete game win.